Winter farming

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Farm update: It’s June!

Wow, it’s well into June already. I remember when I told myself I would do a blog post each week. Well, not doing great on that so far, but the key to constant improvement is to start off really poorly! Kidding…

We now have 11 pigs, which will be all of them for the summer. Six are ‘just pigs’ (read: mutts) who are currently about 3 months old and six are Berkshires, 1 month younger. They spent a couple of weeks in separate yards, right next to each other. The Berkshires needed some time to learn about electric fences, how to drink from their waterer, and generally get comfortable on the farm.

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All of Chase Farm’s animal feeds are now GMO-free!

We are very happy to announce that our pigs and laying hens are now fed grains from non-genetically modified seed, raised and milled within about 50 miles of the farm. The feed has no antibiotics, hormones, or other non-food… just grains, vitamins and minerals (just like the old feed). Took some searching, but we found it.

The issue of feeds is one of those areas in which we will be seeking constant improvement. The eventual goal is to raise much (the majority? dare I say it?) of our own feed on the farm and have the rest be organic/sustainably raised and locally grown. For now, the organic (certified and non-certified) feeds I can find are all raised far away and cost twice as much or more than my current feed. As a beginning farmer, I feel it’s best to set my goals high, but keep my expectations reasonable. I’ll be able to get to a feed situation I am 100% happy with, in terms of its sustainability and (hopefully) cost, but incremental success is the name of the game!

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And we’re off!

The chickens came a week ago. In a couple hours, I’ll be picking up our pigs. I guess that means we are up and running, at last! This is a very exciting time for our family.

Our 75 hens have settled in and are doing great. They’ve mostly figured out where the nest boxes are and what they are for. They’re happy and healthy and doing all the things chickens do best: picking away at bugs and grass, making silly noises, pooping constantly, and most importantly, laying beautiful, brown eggs!

This flock of hens has been unlike any I’ve ever experienced. They are insanely friendly. They all come running when I show up, which isn’t so unusual. In the first few days, though, they were flying up onto my shoulders, just to sit there and say hi! I quickly decided that would not be pleasant once it’s tank top weather and taught them not to do that. Instead, when I sit down on a bucket to observe the flock, they are allowed to hop up onto my lap and get pets. Some of them will even snuggle their little heads into my belly. It’s very endearing. I’m not sure if it’s the breed, the fellow they were raised by (I got them as started pullets), or my pure animal magnetism, but it’s pretty funny!

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